John Skelton - AGAINST THE SCOTS

AGAINST THE SCOTS

[The following pieces, called forth by the battle of Flodden, and the lines on the Battle of the Spurs annexed to them, are from the ed. of Kyng and Marche of Certain Books Compiled by Master Skelton, n.d., collated with the same work, ed. Day, n.d., ed. Lant, n.d., and with Marshe's ed. of Skelton's Works, 1568.]

<1>

AGAINST the proud Scots clattering,
That never will leave their trattling:
Won they the field, and lost their king?
They may well say, Fie on that winning!

Lo, these fond sots<2>
And trattling Scots,
How they are blind
In their own mind,
And will not know
Their overthrow                                                                                             10
At Brankston Moor!
They are so
stour,
So frantic mad,
They say they had
And won the field
With spear and shield:
That is as true
As black is blue
And green is grey.
Whatever they say,                                                                                        20
Jemmy is dead
And closed in lead,<
3>
That was their own king:
Fie on that winning!

At Flodden hills
Our bows, our bills,
Slew all the flower
Of their honour.
Are not these Scots
Fools and sots,                                                                                              30
Such boast to make,
To prate and crake,
To face, to brace,<
4>
All void of grace,
So proud of heart,
So overthwart,
So out of frame,
So void of shame,
As it is enrolled,
Written and told                                                                                            40
Within this
quaire?
Who list to repair,
And therein read,
Shall find indeed
A mad reckoning,
Considering all thing,
That the Scots may sing
Fie on the winning!

When the Scot Lived

Jolly Jemmy, ye scornful Scot,
Is it come unto your lot                                                                                 50
A solemn
sumner for to be?
It greeth nought for your degree
Our king of England for to cite,<5>
Your sovereign lord, our prince of might:
Ye for to send such a citation,
It shameth all your naughty nation,
In comparison but king Kopping<6>
Unto our prince, anointed king.
Ye play Hob Lobbyn of Lowdean;<7>
Ye show right well what good ye can;<8>                                                   60
Ye may be lord of Locrian<
9>—
Christ cense you with a frying-pan!—
Of Edinburgh and Saint John's town:<10>
Adieu, Sir Sumner, cast off your crown!

When the Scot was Slain

Continually I shall remember
The merry month of September,
With the ix <11> day of the same,
For then began our mirth and game;
So that now I have devised,
And in my mind I have comprised,                                                              70
Of the proud Scot, King Jemmy,
To write some little tragedy,
For no manner consideration
Of any sorrowful lamentation,
But for the special consolation
Of all our royal English nation.

Melpomene, O muse tragedial,
Unto your grace for grace now I call
To guide my pen and my pen to
imbibe!
Illumine me, your poet and your scribe,                                                        80
That with mixture of aloes and bitter gall
I may compound confectures for a cordial,
To anger the Scots and Irish<
12> caterans withal,
That late were discomfect with battle martial.

Thalia, my Muse, for you also call I,
To touch them with taunts of your harmony,
A medley to make of mirth with sadness,
The hearts of England to comfort with gladness:
And now to begin I will me address,
To you rehearsing the sum of my process.                                                    90

King Jamey, Jemmy, Jocky my jo,<13>
Ye summoned our king,—why did ye so?
To you nothing it did accord
To summon our king, your sovereign lord.
A king, a sumner! it was great wonder:
Know ye not sugar and salt asunder?
Your sumner too saucy, too malapert,
Your herald in arms not yet half expert.
Ye thought ye did yet valiantly,
Not worth three skips of a pie:<14>                                                             100
Sir
Skyrgaliard,<15> ye were so skit,
Your will then ran before your wit.

Your liege ye laid and your ally,
Your frantic fable not worth a fly,
French king, or one or other;
Regarded ye should your lord, your brother.<16>
Trowed ye, Sir Jemmy, his noble Grace
From you, Sir Scot, would turn his face?
With, Gup, Sir Scot of Galloway!
Now is your pride fall to decay.                                                                   110
Maleured was your false intent
For to offend your president,
Your sovereign lord most reverent,
Your lord, your brother, and your regent.

In him is figured Melchizedek,
And ye were disloyal Amalek.
He is our noble Scipion,
Anointed king; and ye were none,
Though ye untruly your father have slain.<17>
His title is true in France to reign;                                                                 120
And ye, proud Scot, Dundee, Dunbar,<
18>
Pardie, ye were his homager,
And suitor to his parliament:
For your untruth now are ye shent.
Ye bear yourself somewhat too bold,
Therefore ye lost your copyhold;
Ye were bond tenant to his estate;
Lost is your game, ye are checkmate.

Unto the castle of Norham,<19>
I understand, too soon ye came.                                                                   130
At Brankston Moor and Flodden hills,
Our English bows, our English
bills,
Against you gave so sharp a shower,<20>
That of Scotland ye lost the flower.
The White Lion, there rampant of mood,
He raged and rent out your heart-blood;
He the White, and ye the Red,<21>
The White there slew the Red stark dead.
Thus for your guerdon quit are ye,
Thanked be God in Trinity,                                                                           140
And sweet Saint George, Our Lady's knight!<
22>
Your eye is out: adieu, good-night!

Ye were stark mad to make a fray,
His Grace being out of the way:<23>
But, by the power and might of God,
For your own tail ye made a rod!
Ye wanted wit, sir, at a word;
Ye lost your spurs, ye lost your sword.<24>
Ye might have busked you to Huntley Banks;<25>
Your pride was peevish to play such pranks:                                                150
Your poverty could not attain
With our king royal war to maintain.

Of the king of Naverne ye might take heed,
Ungraciously how he doth speed:
In double dealing so he did dream,
That he is king without a
ream;
And, for example ye would none take,<26>
Experience hath brought you in such a brake.
Your wealth, your joy, your sport, your play,
Your bragging boast, your royal array,                                                         160
Your beard so
brim<27> as boar at bay,
Your Seven Sisters, that gun so gay,<28>
All have ye lost and cast away.
Thus Fortune hath turned you, I dare well say,
Now from a king to a clot of clay:
Out of your robes ye were shaked,
And wretchedly ye lay stark naked.
For lack of grace hard was your hap:
The Popes curse gave you that clap.<29>

Of the out isles the rough-footed Scots,<30>                                              170
We have well-eased them of the bots:
The rude rank Scots, like drunken
dranes,<31>
At English bows have fetched their banes.
It is not fitting in tower and town
A sumner to wear a king's crown:
Fortune on you therefore did frown;
Ye were too high, ye are cast down.
Sir Sumner, now where is your crown?
Cast off your crown, cast up your crown!
Sir Sumner, now ye have lost your crown.                                                   180

Quod Skelton Laureate, orator to the King's most royal estate.

Scotia, reducta in formam provinciae,
Regis parebit nutibus Angliae;
<32>
Alioquin, per desertum Sin, super cherubim,
Cherubim, seraphim, seraphimque, ergo, &c.
<33>

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